Seattle vs. Baltimore – Sushi, Oysters, Food Trucks, and Whiskey Cocktails

The first part in an occasional series comparing foodie experiences from my new home, Seattle, with my  previous place of residence, Baltimore, as well as guest appearances from various likely and unlikely contenders…

Sushi – Winner: Seattle. Granted, my love of sushi was formed in Southern California and cemented by that wonderful Santa Barbara restaurant, Edomasa, and then, later, I did actually work at XS in Baltimore carrying trays of fusion sushi to college students, gay and lesbian couples, school teachers, and every other walk of life, but… hands down, Seattle wins for the freshness, quality, and variety of its offerings.  From something sliced up fresh (I mean, from the sea fresh) at Pikes Place Market, to more traditional selections at Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant, to the fusion of places like Momiji in Capitol Hill, Seattle has something for everyone, and probably the freshest ingredients available this side of the Pacific.  Want to taste the ocean, really taste the ocean – come order some geoduck

Oysters – Winner: Baltimore. As much as I love Ballard’s The Walrus and the Carpenter, for its tasty small plates of seasonal cuisine, its new old-fashioned cocktails, and it’s homage to the Lewis Carroll poem (from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There), Hama Hama River oysters just don’t cut it.  Baltimore’s Thames Street Oyster House is the place for a variety of tasty shucked shellfish, including plump Chincoteagues and tasty Blue Points.

Food Trucks – Winner: Portland! That’s right – this port city three hours to the south of Seattle has the best street cuisine this country has to offer, possibly with the exception of New York City.  There are entire city blocks with encampments of food trucks (some are, to be fair, carts and not trucks) selling every possible and tasty cuisine, from Thai to Korean to Mexican to European Fusion to Beer.  (Yes, a BEER truck, serving locally crafted ales).  You cry foul?  We are ostensibly comparing Seattle and Baltimore?  All right, that strict comparison leads to…

Food Trucks Take 2 – Tie. What Baltimore lacks in quantity of food trucks it makes up for in heart, charm, and pluckiness.  I would love for the Gypsy Queen to roll up Phinney Avenue one day so I could order some heart-stopping-artery-clogging-good Mac-and-Cheese with Bacon Bling.  Or their truffle butter sliders.  Or their chorizo and pineapple tacos.  On the other hand, Seattle rolls with a wide variety of vehicles spanning the gamut, including the simple fusion brilliance of Tokyo Dog, proffering a cheese-filled bratwurst covered in bonito flakes with various Japanese sauces, along with a side of sea salt and nori fries.

Whiskey Cocktails – Winner: Seattle.  Nothing to dispute.  Seems like every bar and restaurant offers its own special whiskey menu, with the classics like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned in there with new twists that involved strange infusions, herbs, and obscure liqueurs made in-house by alchemists reviving a beautiful and ancient art.

3 thoughts on “Seattle vs. Baltimore – Sushi, Oysters, Food Trucks, and Whiskey Cocktails

  1. Reading the first “Food Trucks” entry ended with a “What about the Gypsy Queen?!” exclamation. But not a second later I was rewarded with Food Trucks Take 2. You are a clever devil, sir. Clever indeed.

  2. Never been to Seattle… Or Portland, but IMHO you can’t miss withr Baltimore’s Cruisin’ Cafe. Homemade meatballs & marinara on sub is divine, chipotle ribeye cheese[pepperjack]steak, the list goes on and the folks are fantastic!

  3. As long as Gypsy Queen was given its due, you’re alright with me! Hands down a Baltimore Best in my opinion.

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